Directed by: Sanaa Hamri (Something New)
Starring: Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, Blake Lively
Another week, another sequel. This time it’s a follow-up to 2005’s The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. And while both movies are based on Ann Brashares popular series of young-adult novels, in a moviegoing season filled with sequels to comic-book movies, sequels to long-standing franchises, sequels to movies based on now-dead TV series and, oh yeah, more sequels to comic-book movies, this one is easily the most unlikely sequel of them all. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have much else going for it.
The movie picks up a few years after the first picture left off, with the girls—the artsy one, Lena (Alexis Bledel); the sporty one, Bridget (Blake Lively); the angst-y one, Tibby (Amber Tamblyn); and the dour one, Carmen (America Ferrera)—and their supposedly magical itinerant britches that they mail to one another on summer vacation from college.
The first half of the movie is pleasant and harmless enough, with the focus being on the girls growing up and the difficulty that exists when you discover your best friends might not be that anymore. However, even this is filtered through the lens of after-school-special melodrama and soap-opera romance. Let’s see, we have a pregnancy scare (thwarted by the pants apparent ability to induce menstruation), a dysfunctional family dealing with the suicide of Bridget’s bipolar mother and the revelation that Lena’s former beau is now married. It only gets worse as the movie plods ahead.
And while the amiable tone is kept throughout, it’s difficult not to feel like the makers never really knew where they wanted to go, or—at 117 minutes—where to end it. There are so many subplots—some of which are forgotten for long periods of time, others that are just dropped altogether—that none of it feels fleshed out and all of it feels uneven. Not to mention the fact that the situations the girls find themselves in are so unbelievably idyllic and preposterous (like Lena flying to Greece just to find a pair of pants?) that it’s hard to connect with any of the characters.
In many ways, the movie and everything it entails is like Sex and the City for tweens (though, thankfully, 40 minutes shorter). For fans of Brashares’ books and the previous film, this movie will be perfectly fine. For the uninitiated, however, there’s little here to make this a worthwhile endeavor. Rated PG-13 for mature material and sensuality.